It may seem like everyone at school is doing it -- or talking about doing it. Add to it the increasing talk of sex on TV and in movies and you probably feel like the only person waiting to have sex. You are not alone.
More than one half of high school teens have not had sex, according to recent surveys. In fact, many teens are choosing abstinence (not having sexual intercourse) until they are older and in long-term, committed relationships.
Deciding to have sex is a very personal decision. It is one that should be made by you and you alone. Do not let your friends pressure you into having sex.
WebMD takes a look at the benefits of choosing abstinence and provides tips to help you avoid being pressured into doing something you may regret.
Why Choose Abstinence
There are many good reasons to choose abstinence, including:
Morals and religious beliefs. Most religions say sex is only to be shared between a husband and wife. If this is your view, it is reason enough not to have sex.
Pregnancy prevention. Abstinence is the only 100% surefire way to prevent pregnancy.
Many STDs can be spread if you have unprotected oral sex. Examples of these STDs include, herpes, hepatitis, gonorrhea, human papilloma virus (HPV, the virus that causes genital warts), and even HIV/AIDs.
Also, even if you don't actually have sex, but instead rub your genitals against each other, you are at risk of getting an STD. So always wear a condom for any of this kind of activity.
Sex is a big deal. Sex may not seem like a big deal to some people, but it really is a big deal. With sex comes a lot of emotions that are easier to deal with when you are older.
Sex does not equal love. Sex and love are not always the same thing. You can have sex without love and love without sex. Hopefully, when you are married, you will have both. Having sex with your girlfriend is not the only way to show your love. Good relationships are built on trust, communication, commitment, and enjoying time together. Friendship is most important first in a relationship.
Being free from regret. In a survey, more than half (55%) of teen boys who have had sex said they wish they had waited.
Why Guys Are Waiting to Have Sex
Guys can sometimes talk a big game, mostly to be cool and fit in. But, when it comes to sex, what guys say and what they really think may be two different things. In fact, a national survey conducted between 2006 and 2010 found that among boys ages 15 to 19, 42% said they had had sexual intercourse - a decline from 45.7% in 2002 and 55.2% in 1995. Others abstained for these reasons:
- 31% said they didn't have sex for moral or religious reasons.
- 12.6% said they didn't have sex because of pregnancy worries.
- 6.3% said they did not want to get a sexually transmitted disease.
- 29.4% said they hadn't yet met the right partner.
- 10.8% said they were in a relationship but were waiting for the right time. In 2002, only 4.4% of the same population cited this as a reason to abstain from sex.
How to Handle the Pressure to Have Sex
"Just say no!" It's not that easy, is it? Especially if you are feeling pressure from a girlfriend you really care about. Here are some tips to help you fire back when you are feeling pressured to have sex.
What to say to your girlfriend:
- Be honest. Tell her why you have chosen abstinence. Be firm with your choice -- even if the subject comes up while you are fooling around.
- Don't get trapped. If your girlfriend pulls the, "If you love me then you'd do it," line, don't get sucked in. Remember, sex is not proof of a person's love. In fact, not having sex says a lot about a person's level of respect. And that line works both ways -- "If you love me, you would respect my desire to wait."
- Walk away. If you continue to feel pressured, get up and leave.
What to say to your friends:
- I'm not ready.
- I don't want to be used.
- I'm waiting for the right person.
- I've got more important things to do with my time.
- It goes against my religious beliefs.
- I want to wait until I get married or find the right person.
- I don't want to catch a disease.
- I don't have to have sex to get off.
- I don't want to get my girlfriend pregnant.
- I respect myself and my girlfriend.
- This is our decision and it's personal.
Even though you may think your friends won't like you, they really will. Friends do not choose friends based on virginity. But if your friends actually do reject you because you wait to have sex, then they aren't true friends, anyway. You are better off finding new ones who understand and respect you.
Be True to Yourself
Do not let peer pressure get in the way of your choice to wait to have sex. Stick to your guns. You will feel better about yourself and your partner. Remember, more people regret having sex than not having sex. Don't second guess yourself. Being pressured into doing something you do not want to can have end results you may regret.